Top Ten 1948

1. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
2. The Search
3. Red River
4. The Fallen Idol
5. The Naked City
6. Germany Year Zero
7. Unfaithfully Yours
8. A Foreign Affair
9. The Red Shoes
10. Key Largo


Humphrey Bogart practically made a career out of anti-heroism. With that heavy brow and grizzled voice, even when he was doing the right thing you always suspected he was doing it for the wrong reasons. Never was this more fun to watch than in John Huston’s classic adventure The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, in which Bogart barely tries to achieve any level of sympathy but instead delves head-first into full-throttle villainy.

Honour Roll: Montgomery Clift, Red River/The Search; Rex Harrison, Unfaithfully Yours; Laurence Olivier, Hamlet; Ralph Richardson, The Fallen Idol


It’s rare that Jean Arthur made a movie that she didn’t steal.  That wonderful voice always sounded like champagne bubbles, complete with a fresh face and satisfied smile for a magnificent effect that made so many of Frank Capra’s comedies sparkle.  Her collaboration with Billy Wilder on the post-war comedy A Foreign Affair is a perfect vehicle for her talents, playing the buttoned up American diplomat whose hair gradually comes down as she experiences the romantic fun of black market life in Berlin.  Her talent is strong enough to override the lack of star quality coming from forgettable leading man John Lund, while her squaring off with the incredibly glamorous Marlene Dietrich is delightful.  Just watching her get drunk is reason enough to pick her for this one.

Honour Roll: Greer Garson, Julia Misbehaves; Joan Fontaine, Letter From An Unknown Woman; Judy Garland, Easter Parade; Jane Wyman,Johnny Belinda


Oscar got the supporting categories just right from my vantage point; Walter Huston deservedly took home the gold for his fantastic portrayal of a seemingly benign (but is he?) old coot in his son’s The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. It was the first time a father and son ever won Oscars for the same film (and happened only one other time, among the Coppolas at the 1974 awards).

Honour Roll: Charles Bickford, Johnny Belinda; Melvyn Douglas, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House; Jose Ferrer, Joan Of Arc; Alec Guinness, Oliver Twist


A tried and true movie staple is the boozy, brash gangster moll; seemingly aware of this, John Huston created this particular role in Key Largo with a lot more complexity in mind than one usually gets. In doing so, he also gave Claire Trevor free reign to take the character to the maximum, and she has a great time swinging her weight around in a deadlocked Florida resort while Bogart and Bacall do their best to keep things from getting out of control.

Honour Roll: Linda Darnell, Unfaithfully Yours; Agnes Moorehead, Johnny Belinda; Jean Simmons, Hamlet; Kay Walsh, Oliver Twist


John Huston, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre

Honour Roll: Howard Hawks, Red River; David Lean, Oliver Twist; Billy Wilder, A Foreign Affair; Fred Zinnemann, The Search